Home battles: Winning over stubborn children

Getting your child to perform certain tasks can be difficult, especially when you are dealing with a strong-willed child. Below are some areas where parents face difficulty and tips on dealing with the power struggle and getting the child to act as required.


A toddler will often spend most of the day pulling things from where they are supposed to be and moving on to other things and activities that attract their attention. Getting them to participate in cleaning up putting their toys away can be difficult.

So how do you deal with this?

  • Turn chores such as putting away toys into fun games such as a beat-the-timer game where you keep track of the number of toys the child puts away in a given amount of time.
  • Make the child feel like helping out is a privilege by playing the helper card. Ask the child if they would like to be your special helper for the day.
  • Don’t use threats in an attempt to get your child to carry out a task. Instead, use positive words. For instance, if a child wants to visit some place, respond with something such as “of course we can go, as soon as you pick up your toys”.

Bath and bedtime

Getting your child out of the bath and ready for bed is often an uphill task for many parents dealing with a stubborn kid. You can navigate the situation using these useful tips.

  • Use soothing music that helps your child relax and get ready to sleep.
  • Ask the child questions that get her answering ‘yes’. Several yeses back to back should get her feeling heard and break her resistance.
  • To get the child out of the tub, give her options such as drying herself off or you helping her. You could also use the same strategy to get the child into bed. Let her choose which book to read, but stand your ground on the options. Don’t yield to their demands for other options. Repeatedly state the options as much as necessary.
  • Before you move the child to the bedroom, show interest in what they are doing. Doing this establishes a connection such that they are likely to do as you want next.
  • Negotiate different bed times with the older kids whose sleeping patterns are changing


Picky eaters often refuse to eat specific or all foods. The following tips should help get the children eating.

  • Serve the varieties of the child’s food in small portions and let the child choose what she wants. Avoid pushing the child to eat. Instead, occupy the time talking about anything but food.
  • If the child’s favorite part is the dessert, serve it in small portions with dinner so that when she has eaten dessert and is still hungry, she will eat the food that’s left.


Does your child want to wear clothes that you find inappropriate for the occasion at hand? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Clean out the closet and remove inappropriate clothing
  • Narrow the choices to about three outfits from which she can pick one.


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